Naveen Polishetty (seen recently in Jathi Ratnalu and Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya) talks to Baradwaj Rangan about the difficult journey that his parents had to go through after he quit his job in London to pursue theatre, sell quinoa, and do various other gigs for ten years until they could witness his success. Excerpts…
I saw a very sweet video of your parents outside a theatre screening your film. Your father was very emotional, your mother was handling it better…
I’ve spoken about my journey before but can you imagine their journey in all of this? Their son, a graduate from NIT, working in London, turns up at their home one day after quitting his job (I hadn’t told them that I had quit). He has joined a theatre company in Bangalore, sold quinoa, hosted mall events and sold cell phones, wants to be the Naseeruddin Shah of theatre but has no idea how to make money. All this when their other children all have Masters degrees from the US and have green cards.
The graph changes in family functions—from ‘my son works in London’ to ‘he auditions in Mumbai’. There was social embarrassment and peer pressure that all of my friends were married with kids, and I might probably never get married.
Also, the fact that there has been only one Shah Rukh Khan in twenty five years. So, the odds of me making it as an actor were already low. All of these factors had been bugging my parents for ten years, like you have thirty live feeds streamed to your head all the time.
Suddenly one day, two films in two industries, and both of them were hits. So, that was the context of their reaction when they came out of the mall and met the media.
Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
Alive and still negative for corona (laughs). The first thing on my mind right now is that we can get to a world where there is no pandemic. More than being morbid, it’s funny how things work, and you’re caught off guard even when you’ve planned so much, and you expect everything to work. So, for me the first priority right now is that… I see myself in a world where we don’t have to keep having lockdowns or keep suspending businesses. The basic principle on which the world runs is that each individual works to make a living. That has been robbed from us. The sooner we get back to normalcy, the better it’s for everyone.